GETTYSBURG, PA-Locally based Boyds Collection, which opened “the world’s most humongous Teddy Bear store” here in September 2002, hired William Feast, VP of retail. He will oversee and manage Boyds’ retail expansion strategy, beginning with a second store in Pigeon Forge, TN this year.

According to published reports, Boyds’ 120,000-sf Gettysburg flagship cost $11.2 million, an investment that was recouped with $16 million in sales during its first year of operations. The designer, importer and distributor of plush bears and other giftware plans two additional units each year, beginning in 2005 and following the opening of this year’s 110,000-sf Pigeon Forge unit. The stores mix retailing with entertainment and include multiple eateries and a museum.

Feast brings nearly 30 years of retail development, management and merchandising experience to the table. For the past 16 years he held various positions with San Francisco-based DFS (Duty Free Shoppers) Group Limited, managing DFS retail real estate worldwide. Before that, he was acting regional director for Disney Stores, responsible for operations at its 85 units.

Calling this “an important juncture for our company,” Jan Murely, CEO, says that as a result of the success of its store here, “the company is pursuing a retail expansion strategy focused on family-oriented tourist destinations throughout the country.” Founded in 1979, Boyds sells its branded plush and giftware products through independent gift and collectibles retailers and select department stores, catalogs and electronic retail channels in addition to its own store.

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